A few months ago, I decided to quit my Executive position at a small internet publishing firm. I knew I didn’t want to jump into another 40-hours-behind-the-desk job right away, so I decided to pursue a career in real estate. I thought it might synergize well with my small portfolio of rental properties that I began to put together over the past two years. I also like the idea of having a clear business path, specifically, if I do well as an Agent, I could build up a team and eventually start a Brokerage firm.
November 15, 2013, was my D-Day (departure from corporate world day…lol). I left my old job and officially started my new career. This is a career where a big emergency fund and a good mentor come in really handy. I have already spent nearly $2,000 to get started while working at a $0 per hour pay rate.
Before I get into what happened during the first week, here is a brief synopsis of the events that led up to November 15th.
- Late July: Submitted my resignation to the owner of the company. Yes, I gave them a really long time to find my replacement.
- Early August: Registered for the training course. The requirement in Virginia is 60 hours of class time. I opted for the online training. In short, it took me a lot longer than 60 hours to understand and memorize all the information.
- Mid-October: Passed the classroom exam. You need to pass this test before you can take the official National and State licensing exams through PSI.
- Late October: Passed the official National and State licensing exams, and submitted my fingerprints to the Real Estate Board.
- Late October and Early November: Interviewed a few Brokers. Just FYI, almost all Brokers will accept a new agent; it is your job to find the best Broker for your needs. After careful consideration, I decided to join a small local firm with a dozen agents (Select Realty Service…this was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty in 2016). I like this firm for many reasons, but top on the list are
- I know one of the top agents there, and I know he will be a good mentor,
- the broker is an online marketing pro with an equitable way of distributing online leads, and
- the broker has reasonable fees and compensation structure.
First Week as a Real Estate Agent
I was supposed to start on the 17th hosting an Open House for my mentor, but the house was under contract within 48 hours of listing it. I was happy for my mentor, but a little disappointed that I missed the chance to show the house and meet potential buyer clients.
November 18th: My official start date. I spent the morning at the Prince William Association of Realtors.
I thought being a Realtor was optional when I first started, but I soon realized that I could not do all that much with my real estate license without becoming a Realtor. By comparison, it is like being a blogger without access to the Internet…it just doesn’t work. With my Realtor membership, I am also able to gain access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).
November 20th and 21st: I spent these days at the office as the Agent on Duty. Basically, this is how the Broker distributes leads. The Agent on Duty opens the office answers the phone and responds to emails. In turn, he gets all the leads that come in at that time.
November 23rd: I went out to meet my mentor’s clients, a couple with two kids, to show them some houses in Manassas and Woodbridge area. It was a productive morning because they liked two of the homes we saw that day.
So far, the best part about this job has been the opportunity to meet people and help them out. I have bought a few houses over the past few years, including a few rental properties, so I feel like I have what it takes to help home buyers, renters, and landlords.
In the first week, I was able to do a few of these things.
- I helped a family through the home buying process. So far, I’ve been involved with the home inspection. We discussed his options, and I helped him submit an Inspection Addendum to the seller and her agent.
- I helped a mom and her kids find a low-cost rental in the area. There are many options in the MLS, so we might end up going through Craigslist and other online sources to find them a place.
- I helped a handyman finds a fixer-upper dream home. He is looking for something that is below the neighborhood’s market value that he can fix up to be at the market value level. I was able to find a place that might work and is on a lookout to find a few more places that fit the criteria.
- I helped a business owner find a new commercial space. I did a lot of work for my previous job when we had to move our office, so I am relatively comfortable doing this.
There were a few others that I started to work with this week, so it has been a much fuller week than I anticipated — this is a good thing because keeping me busy is keeping me sane.
I hope you enjoyed a slightly unorthodox entry.
Pinyo Bhulipongsanon is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance and a Realtor® licensed in Virginia and Maryland. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, financial literacy author, and Realtor®.